The Zeigarnik Effect

Scientific American has an abnormally interesting piece on the Zeigarnik effect. Among the most interesting parts is a quote from Ernest Hemingway in which he mentions Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn, “I cannot believe Twain ever ‘tested out’ Huckleberry Finn on listeners. If he did they probably had him cut out good things and put in the bad parts.” And then there’s the discussion of Socrates on the gift of letters.
I’m working on something for the Pomona Public Library so, you’re on your own to read the piece. Everyone has experienced the Zeigarnik effect.
I will say that the Zeigarnik effect should be considered whenever we think of a possible transition from an oral to a written tradition.

One thought on “The Zeigarnik Effect”

  1. I was just writing some things about this so I thank you for your blog and for the blog in S.A. The Zeigarnik effect is even worse than discussed in the blog. I cannot even remember where or when I wrote on some topic. The Egyptians would not always agree with Thamus on this matter, but then they saw the advantage of writing as the ability to share a completed speech. This is the way it is presented in The Eloquent Peasant. “Then it will be brought to us in writing that we may hear it.” (B1 110-111). The context in The Phaedrus and in The Eloquent Peasant is quite similar; it’s all about perfect speech.
    In The Jerusalem Academy I suggest that the oral tradition as sung by the minstrels did not always follow the story in its written form.

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